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Migrants riot in Italy over attack
Hundreds of workers clash with police after an attack on two African immigrants.
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2010 13:02 GMT
The violence began after two immigrants were wounded by local youths [AFP]

Riots involving hundreds of immigrants have broken out in southern Italy, in protest against an attack on African farm workers by a gang of local youths, police said.

Dozens of immigrants, mostly from African nations, smashed car windows and set cars and rubbish bins of fire in the town of Rosarno in the Calabria region on Thursday night.

The rioters, shouting "we are not animals" and holding signs accusing Italians of racism, clashed with riot police, leading to seven arrests.

The Italian interior ministry said 14 people, including officers, protesters and residents, were injured in the riots.

The violence started after two immigrants were wounded when a number of white youths fired air rifles at them as they returned home from work.

'Strongly provoked'

Immigrants work in the area as day labourers picking fruit and vegetables, with some 1,500 living in squalid conditions in abandoned factories with no running water or electricity

Human rights activists say they are exploited by organised crime groups.

Agazio Loiero, governor of the Calabria region, told Sky TV that the violence was "unacceptable" but the migrants have been "strongly provoked".

Calabria is also the base of the international crime syndicate called 'ndrangheta.

The combination of ethnic strife and organised crime activity has sparked violence before among immigrant communities in southern Italy.

In 2008, migrants rioted in the Naples area after six Ghanians were murdered in a gangland-style shooting blamed on the local Camorra crime syndicate.

Source:
Agencies
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